Monday, June 17, 2013

Il a commencé

Departed from my friend's home north of Boston. She looks out onto Atlantic Ocean. I perform the cross country prescribed ritual...dipping my rear wheel into the Atlantic with hope the bike spirits ride with me to dip the front into the Pacific. Ride to Charlestown where I honor the Sweetser clan with a dip of the wheel into the Mystic River. Blackie points out Seth's farm...or's become an industrial and wharf zone.
Thanks Dianna!
Blackie points to Seth's farm. He's not yet convinced though.

I stop for Sunday services where subject is "God the Preserver of Man"...The Lord guards you....The Lord will protect you from all dangers; he will guard your life. Psalms 121:5 A pretty good send off really. Blackie keeps an eye on gear on the Christian Science Plaza while I go inside.

Blackie's a good guard. Who's going to mess with a North Carolina black bear in the city.
Blackie's eager to begin. This is Robbie's beginning photo. Let's see how three months on the road favor the traveler.

Leaving out of Boston. Follow south side of Charles River on greenway through wonderful wildlife sanctuary and conservation areas. A little messy ( traffic) around Waltham as I leave river to head toward Worcester. I am traveling this first week with a friend from Brooklyn, Greg. Since I could never pronounce Worcester correctly, we head to West Boylston and a motel so Robbie doesn't disgrace the South. I had tried to connect with a WarmShowers host in Worcester but they were not home. I need to plan ahead for the weekends.
Creative Boston photo
Trail out of Boston

Second day to Northampton (Smith College). Early morning and late afternoon found more rail-to-trail routes with gorgeous bogs and rivers. The rivers run dark as tea, just like the low country of South Carolina...lots of tannins. Great Blue Heron, frogs singing, dozens of dragonflies circling, blooming lilies, bright green water grass. Take chance with last moment contact with local WarmShowers host...they graciously tell us to come on. Brett and Jenny, unicycle jugglers, twin girls two years old, love to throw balls and play with wet strangers. Just as we left downtown Northampton, a menacing, dark cloud rained down. That's okay. Tomorrow is kit change-out day anyway.

Massachusetts roads have wide shoulders. Good riding. Greenways are even better. Old train grades bypass the rolling hills as we approach the northern Appalachians. These trails are wonderfully tree lined and shaded. Frequently follow rivers. Easy grades. Amazing the beauty where these rail lines were placed a century and a half ago. Massachusetts is working on connecting some of these old rail grades to be able to cross the state continually. Lots of fellow bicyclists, joggers, walkers, baby strollers, fishers. Last section of today's trail enters directly into central Northampton. Plenty of restaurants to choose from. We're happy campers...sleeping in bed offered by young family.
Rail-to-Trail Massachusetts style


  1. Glad to see you are on your way. Praying for safe travels. The kids and I are excited to follow your adventures!

  2. Great start to your adventure! Beautiful photos! As good ol' Roy Rogers used to say, "Happy Trails!" (Actually I think he sang it; picture me singing.) Looking forward to future installments. Hugs!

  3. Sounds like a great start!!

  4. Nice mascot, dude! Enjoy the flats whilst they last...

  5. Nice start to your trip Robbie. Though Boston is known for it's dense traffic and roads decipherable only to locals, you seem to have found a grand and glorious way out of town. It'll be nice to hear how your WarmShowers experiences work out. In 12 years of hosting I've had two guests, maybe due to the off route places I've lived. Thanks for the posts!

  6. Now that you're out of Boston, folks should start speaking English again . . .

  7. I look forward to more pictures of you and Blackie in front of beautiful places. Maybe I should have a blog since so many people are asking what I am doing while you are away. It wouldn't be as exciting, and I always have a warm shower, so no suspense there

  8. Barry, my brother, and I are following along with you on the blog. This is a grand adventure! Savor every moment. You've gotten us thinking: Did you do anything smaller or shorter to see if this big trip was for you? I think Barry could ride Mateo to Murphy. Any advice? We are there with you in spirit. Enjoy and be careful.

    Brian Lee

    1. Brian, I have done several week long supported rides...Cycle North Carolina traveling from western mountains to sea coast that is held every fall in late September; Bon Ton Roulet around New York finger lakes; Bike Virginia held in late June. There are many such supported rides. They are good tests to see if you enjoy multi-day bike rides while being well supported. You can do the entire ride or select the days that work for you.The first CNC went from Murphy to Manteo over two weeks and approximately 900 miles. I participated in this ride. Over many years I have also done a few non-supported rides usually with a friend lasting a week. My first month of this trip, I will be taking a day off every week as I pass through the town of a friend. This is just another way to ease into this long experience.

  9. Enjoying the ride vicariously!

  10. Getting back into road/mtn. biking after a couple years rest. Look forward to reading about your travels, thanks for the inspipration. Praying for you.

  11. Is it possible to have your posts appear with the earliest ones at the top, so they can be read from top to bottom?


Leave a comment...